U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., has co-founded a new caucus for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, a coalition created to speed up reforms for the Veterans Affairs Department, according to Military Times.
Founders of the caucus, launched last week, also include Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, one of the few Iraq veterans to have served in the Senate.
The group unveiled plans to be a legislative force on VA and military issues at a media event with officials from Student Veterans of America and business leaders from Uber and Starbucks, which recently announced new efforts to hire thousands of veterans and military spouses in coming years.
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The unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans moved upward by more than a point in July, yet it still remained below 7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Meanwhile, the U.S. tacked on 215,000 jobs in July to post an overall unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, identical to the rate charted the previous month, according to the bureau.
A video purporting to show U.S.-trained fighters captured in Syria could not be independently verified, but there's no doubt the Pentagon's first attempt to insert fighters into Syria met with what one official called “abject failure,” according to a recent report by CBS News.
Nearly half the force was either killed, captured or missing and they never even came in contact with ISIS.
Federal investigators over the weekend arrested three men accused of concocting a deadly plot to lure government forces into a trap, and who were amassing a stockpile fit for war, according to the Washington Post.
There were Kevlar helmets and body armor, pipe bombs and handmade grenades, large amounts of gunpowder and dozens of rounds of ammunition for a military-grade sniper rifle.
Federal officials say three North Carolina men — Walter Eugene Litteral, 50; Christopher James Barker, 41; and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30 — spent months compiling their weapons cache, much of it purchased through a military surplus store owner who became so concerned about the plot that the owner became an FBI informant.
The men were charged with conspiracy and amassing weaponry, allegedly to combat what they believe is the government’s plan to impose martial law through the multi-state military exercise known as Jade Helm. The controversial event, which has raised a furor among rightwing commentators, was launched July 15, when about 1,200 U.S. troops, mostly Special Operations forces, began a two-month military training exercise across seven states in the American Southwest, including Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2533.